Introduction: Homemade Peameal Bacon
So this is my first instructable (yay!) and what better beginning than bacon eh?
This instructable will take you through the steps of curing and roasting pork loin to make Peameal Bacon. I believe, that minus the cornmeal, this also goes by the name Canadian Bacon. No complaints about having the country I hail from associated with this yummy treat!
Sadly, I have to wait about a month for my birthday to get a smoker, so this recipe will use oven roasting to finish off the bacon. We'll add flavor in the form of real liquid smoke.
a 2-4 pound pork loin.
For the brine
4 liters of water
1 cup real maple syrup
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons curing salt
3 teaspoons slightly crushed rainbow peppercorns
5 cloves of garlic, crushed slightly
4 bay leaves
For the coating
1 cup cornmeal (approximately)
2 tablespoons real liquid smoke
Just an FYI, I use a mortar and pestle to crush my peppercorns and the flat side of a butter knife to crush the garlic cloves!
Step 1: Make Your Brine
In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients for the brine and bring just to a boil, ensuring that the sugar and the salts completely dissolve. Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold. It is important not to add the pork loin to hot brine, or the salt will not distribute evenly through the meat!
Curing salt is regularly dyed pink and I've been told it's to help color the meat and that without it the it brine cured meats can turn a greyish color. I've also heard it's to distinguish it from regular salt. Mine isn't dyed, but I got it from a butcher that my wife works with (For free, whoot!) so it's the real deal, promise!
The curing salt is what protects the bacon from bacteria, so it's rather important for the home cured meats, especially if you are a beginner. I've heard tell of curing salt free (therefore nitrate free) bacon and other cured meats...but I haven't yet tried it, and so I can't advise. Maybe that will be next!
Step 2: Add the Pork
Remove your brine from the fridge and set aside. Grab your pork loin and cut any visible fat or sinew. I am clearly not a butcher, my pork loin roast always looks hacked up...I guess I'll get better as I go! Once all the fat is removed, add your pork loin and use a small-medium sized plate to weigh the pork down so it's completely submerged beneath the brine. Refrigerate for 3 days. I'm using my parent's beer fridge in their garage for this step, as I don't have any extra room...hence the abundance of pop (yum Jones Soda) and water (Coors Light) in the picture!
I was too impatient to wait and used a rather sucky knife to carve the meat, having left my good knives behind at my apartment. My parents had kindly offered the use of their kitchen, fridge and their clean up services in return for bacon.
Preheat the oven to 200ºF, place the bacon on a baking sheet or pan (I use a lasagne pan). Cook until the bacon has reached an internal temp of 145ºF-150ºF at it's thickest. Usually takes 1 - 1 1/2 hours...depends on how nervous I am and therefore open it up too much to check the temperature.
I went one degree over, I guess that's not bad eh?
Step 4: Coat Your Bacon
Measure out your cornmeal, and have ready a clean roasting pan or sheet. Brush the bacon with the liquid smoke. The amount you use is really up to your tastes, I honestly don't measure. I just give it a nice, quick but even coating. Now while the bacon is still damp from the liquid smoke, roll it in the cornmeal in the second roasting pan. This is just for visual effect to tell you the truth. But I like it! If you don't have a non-stick pan to fry it in, the one stuck with the cleanup might hate it though!
Step 5: Fry and Eat!!!
Your bacon is ready to be fried in a pan with a bit of butter, olive oil or a combo. By nature it has much less fat than regular (streaky) bacon so it needs a bit of help.
Try not to eat it all in one go! This is good for about a week in the fridge, so I tend to freeze it in chunks for later.